Saturday's Imperial Cup Preview
With a maximum field of 22 looking likely for Saturday’s Matchbook Imperial Cup at Sandown Park the 6-1 offered about ante-post market leader Whatswrongwithyou with most bookmakers may not seem too generous but time could show that the seven-year-old’s current mark of 139 to be on the lenient side as the season progresses.
It is often a thankless task for the handicapper to get the measure of an unexposed horse stepping out of novice company for the first time and this could well be the case with the Nicky Henderson-trained son of Bienamado who will be having just his fourth start over the smaller obstacles since making his hurdling debut at Sandown back in December.
A length second to another decent prospect in Ainchea was an excellent introduction for the mount of Nico De Boinville who built on that debut run by winning his next two starts, both on soft ground at Newbury. On the first occasion the gelding just got the measure of better fancied stablemate OK Corral who has a tall reputation with the rest of the field well beaten off. On his most recent start Whatswrongwithyou found things much easier, coming home a clear winner from his nine rivals.
なお、このレースを勝った馬の名は、— 青嶋坂学会 (@damehorse) February 10, 2018
Saturday’s historic contest was run for the first time in 1907 and has been won by some top class hurdlers over the years including Lanzarote and Collier Bay, both victorious at the highest level at the Cheltenham Festival, but recent renewals have favoured unexposed runners rather than battle-hardened handicappers. Le Patriote from the Dr Richard Newland stable is another who fits this bill on just his fourth start for present connections and on the back of a win in valuable Ascot handicap last month.
A true Patriote: Le Patriote (near) hits the front from Friday Night Light in the 2m3½f handicap hurdle before holding off his rival up the run-in Getty Images When it comes to winning valuable handicaps there are not many as shrewd as Richard Newland,… https://t.co/wijCkWGB0P pic.twitter.com/F5QyHBNDKM— Horse Racing News (@HorseRacingUK) March 5, 2018
Top weight Call Me Lord now looks in the grip of the handicapper with the welter-burdon of 11st 12lb to carry and a bigger danger to the selection could come in the shape of the lightly-weighted Silver Streak who has been in great form this season before unseating his rider at the second in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury when well fancied.
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